For young staffers within college basketball figuring out the road to a coaching position can be a difficult task, with aspects such as connections and finding a spot where they can grow and succeed being of utmost importance. That’s where Rising Coaches Elite, which was founded by Andy Farrell (now an assistant at Southwest Mississippi CC), Adam Gordon (director of basketball ops at Southeast Missouri State) and Trey Meyer (assistant at Miami University) six years ago, comes into play.
The three creators, who have been in that very position themselves in their young careers, put together the program in hopes of helping the video coordinators, directors of basketball operations, graduate assistants, and managers with areas such as networking and how to best go about working their way up the coaching ladder. And with Chris Hollender (UMKC) and Brandon Rosenthal (Santa Clara) taking on greater roles in recent years, the organization has enhanced its ability to help to those looking to do so.
The centerpiece of this process is the organization’s annual conference in Las Vegas, which this year is scheduled for July 21-23.
And while Rising Coaches Elite has undoubtedly helped attendees gain the knowledge needed to move forward, with more than 80 attendees having received promotions within college basketball since the program began, it’s also served as a learning experience for the organizers. With that in mind, this year’s event will pay even more attention to the personal development aspect of young coaches’ careers, which is every bit as important as the coaching.
“One of the areas that we’ve heard a lot of feedback on, when it comes to helping guys in the field, is personal development,” Farrell, now an assistant at Southwest Mississippi CC, told NBCSports.com earlier this week. “Whereas in the past our focus was primarily on coaching, now we’re going to spend some more time on personal development.
“We’re bringing in someone to talk about resumes, a financial manager to talk about saving money when the time comes and how to do so appropriately because this profession is unpredictable.”
When it comes to the aspect of putting away money, that will be difficult for those who are just starting off in their coaching journey. But it never hurts to plant that seed, showing attendees “what has and what hasn’t worked” with Farrell also noting just how important things away from the court can be for those looking to establish themselves within the coaching ranks.
Of course there will still be plenty of conversations regarding the coaching industry, with a number of Division I head and assistant coaches expected to speak at the event. Among those who have already committed to doing so this time around are California head coach Cuonzo Martin, UCLA assistant David Grace and New Mexico associate head coach Chris Harriman, with others being determined as they finalize their schedules for the final evaluation period of the summer.
Those speakers join a list of coaches including new VCU head coach Will Wade, Purdue’s Matt Painter and SMU’s Larry Brown who have spent time at Rising Coaches Elite in the past. But while those presenters possess titles that the attendees will want to earn one day, one of the goals for this event is to stress just how important “fit” is regardless of the position. Being in the right situation when it comes to the people they’re working for, and with, should of great importance for those who hope to make a career out of coaching.
“I think that’s a good way of putting it,” Farrell said. “Don’t get caught up in labels; work for a good person and do your job really well, and everything’s going to take care of itself.”
For coaches looking to sign up for this year’s event, information can be found here.